Mid-sized, regional health plans generally flourish in the local markets they serve. But increasingly, the top five U.S. health insurance companies bring the strength of their sizeable technological capabilities, resources, and marketing muscle to the battle for market share.
As these giants pump substantial capital into innovation – like digital capabilities, value-based care, wellness, analytics, and virtual health – how can regional health plans create the distinction they need to compete with all the players in their markets?
The situation strikes me as a David and Goliath opportunity. Too often, regional plans labor under the misconception that meaningful innovation requires scale that is out of reach. But Goliath’s size and muscle didn’t determine the outcome; instead, David played to his unique strengths to come out on top. Regional health plans can do exactly the same.
Regional plans’ home field advantage
Regional plans bring distinct advantages to their fight to retain and grow market share. Healthcare is, by the old maxim, local. From a sales and administration perspective, it is relationship driven. National plans have resources to carpet-bomb the marketing channels and to bring national-level tools and branding. But you have expert knowledge of the local market and employers’ businesses, intimate customer service, and community-focus. Why, then, should a regional plan cede even a single point of market share to plans that don’t have a home field advantage?
Level the playing field with technology-enabled innovation
Let’s take a moment to revisit the misconception that it takes copious amounts of capital, resources, and people to drive innovation. The reality is that smart technology solutions can give health plans the innovation they need to amplify the strength of their local knowledge and relationships, without requiring more money, staff, or resources.
For example, what is more relationship-building than showing accounts and consumers you know them best? The right product data management solution can help regional plans empower their data and make it accessible – offering up a wealth of insight and information. They can use the insight to drive even stronger relationships, create more high-quality personalized products, and establish processes that optimize efficiency and allow them to service their customers more easily.
The solution is within reach. In fact, one of the nations’ fastest-growing regional health plans has improved efficiency and driven down costs by enabling consistent and accurate data flow throughout all processes. This helped them centralize thousands of plans into a single source, streamline compliance, and reduce risk. Best of all, they have set a foundation that will enable them to build an infrastructure that is scalable, nimble, and drives consumerism.
Even in the face of seemingly unbeatable opponents, regional Davids can make use of their unique strengths – and the technology available to them – to level the playing field and protect their home field advantage.